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Greek oregano Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum
Greek Oregano
In Hoodoo, this magic herb is considered protective, especially against those who would meddle in one's life, such as obnoxious relatives or the authorities. Likewise, some stregi use Greek oregano tea as a protective wash for the home. Many identify this plant with Venus and Air, probably because it is a member of the mint family, which does indeed contain a number of aromatic plants of that sort. However, some would consider those mints to be Venus that are sweet and refreshing in scent. Oregano is warming and a little bitter, and because it is protective and its warmth is used medicinally, it could be considered a Mars herb. True, it does not have spines or red flowers, but neither does it have lush flowers, as one would expect from Venus. Likewise, it does not do the typical Venus herb work of healing skin problems or wounds, and it doesn't like too much water, preferring it a bit dryish, as one would expect from Mars. We suspect oregano-is-Venus is in reference to a different species of oregano; it's a BIG family. Try it both ways and see which works better for you.

This is a great plant. It grows easily with little disease or bug predation, it smells great, its tiny flowers are good forage for bees and small butterflies, and it's wonderful in cooking. Raw and dried leaves and flowers are edible and have been used in cooking and for herbal teas for colds and indigestion for thousands of years; this plant has long been a friend to human beings. The tea can be very sedating. Add to a bath for soothing the aches and pains of the flu. The flowering tops yield a fugitive red or purple dye. Like many aromatic plants, it keeps away insects, especially crawling ones like ants. It is also strongly antifungal. Greek oregano is not the same as the oregano used in Mexico, which is Lippia graveolens; this herb gives pizza sauce its distinctive taste.

How to Grow Greek Oregano
Barely cover seeds to germinate in 7-14 days at room temperature. Transplant out to a spot with full sun to partial shade and soil that does not get boggy. Greek oregano is perennial to zone 4 (-30F/-35C) and gets 18-24in/45-60cm tall and 15-18in/38-45cm wide. Small white flowers appear from mid-summer to early fall. Harvest the leaves and flowers during bloom, before the plant sets seed, and dry. You can either hang the stalks upside down in a dry place or strip the leaves and flowers off and dry them in a dehydrator. You can usually get at least two harvests per season off one plant. If you want to collect seed, leave some stalks on the plants to ripen. General growing info

Oreganum vulgare ssp. hirtum
Greek Oregano
100 seeds $3.25

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